Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Midtown at Forest Acres 

Richland Mall has been struggling ever since I moved to Columbia. For whatever reason, the mall just keeps losing stores and has trouble finding new ones to replace them. Since it's the closest mall to me, literally right down the street, I still shop there. The anchor stores — Parisian, Belk, Barnes & Noble, Blacklion — seem to be doing all right, but the hallways between the anchors are lined with empty storefronts.

When I heard about the latest mall redevelopment project, I was cautiously optimistic. Various firms have been trying to revitalize Richland Mall for years, but no one's been successful so far. The new developers, Peerless Real Estate Services (no web site), however, have a more radical plan than anyone's tried so far.

They want to completely rebuild the mall and turn it into a mixed-use development with condos, office space, shops, and restaurants. Despite the growing popularity of these open-air type malls, we don't have one yet in Columbia. I think this just might work.

A web site showing the proposed development has now gone live, revealing the mall's new name: Midtown at Forest Acres.


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